Posted in eMobile

Swype, an alternative for text input…

{ This blog entry was actually an email that I sent to Therese Mageau, Editorial Director, for Campus Technology Magazine.  Instead of sending one email to her and then sending another to publish to this blog, I just added the publishing email address in the Blind Carbon Copy area of my email to her.  I also appended a WP shortcode to put this posting in the “eMobile” category. }

Several months ago, I responded to your editorial regarding “Reading in the Dark Ages,” and a short time later you published part of my response. Thanks.

— For context, I’m in the IT department at a small university in NC. —

If you’re not familiar with Swype (an alternative for text input on smart devices, especially Android), you might want to take a look at it.

I currently am using an HTC EVO 4G for much of my day-to-day connectivity, but I also have the smaller HTC Hero. Neither phone, along with many other Android devices have a Bluetooth wireless keyboard that connects to them (easily or otherwise). Why connect a full-sized keyboard to a smart device? Well, to be able to “power” email, blog and/or wordprocess. Without an easy & quick means of inputting text, my email replies are either curt or non-existant.

You can set up a free site so that you can post to it via email. That means you could use email to take notes and publish them to your site. Even if you didn’t have connectivity at the time (WIFI or 3G/4G), most email programs will allow you to create multiple emails, and then, when you are connected again, the email program will send the emails in your queue.

Apple has a full-sized, wireless Bluetooth keyboard (about $79) that easily connects to its iPad. I’m not suggesting that you carry around the keyboard & iPad all day long. You might have the keyboard handy, in the car, or while sitting eating, to generate lengthier emails or blog postings, and just carry the iPad around most of the day.

I had just published a blog entry suggesting the above, which said I was “old school” (at age 57), and as such needed a wireless keyboard for the process to work for me. A short time later, I thought, “but kids today might be able to text fast enough to do this without the external keyboard.” And then, I recalled that there was something called “swipe” or “swiping” that was supposed to speed up text entry. I googled for it. Found the web site. And, a short time later, realized that Swype was already installed on my EVO 4G.

I started using it and was surprised at how easy I began to pick it up. And, the stress that came along with “fat fingering” the keys on those small devices wasn’t there. It was pleasant to just drag my finger along the path, spelling whatever word I was trying to input. Over the weekend, I installed Swype on my HTC Hero, which is much smaller than the EVO, and found it was pleasant to input text with the new system. As practice, I tried to take dictation from characters on TV to see if I could keep up with them with Swype. I couldn’t keep up, but it was surprising how fast I was able to enter text.

The guys that created Swype are really sharp. This was thinking outside of the box.




{ Her reply to me was that she was already using Swype on her droid device and found it to be more accurate than “thumbing the keyboard”. }


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